UNITED STATES—Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) stretches along the coastline to the North-South. It runs for more than 600 miles and generously displays some of the most beautiful scenery of California. This highway has it all, the ocean, mountains, beaches, and what seems like an endless sky of dreams.
Driving down the Pacific Coast Highway is an experience that everyone should enjoy at least once in their life. It can be a wonderful trip to take by yourself, with your partner, friends, or family. Regardless of who you choose to share it with, remember to practice safe driving. Also, consider the characteristics of the area, like local wildlife, possible mudslides, abrupt curves, and portions of the road with no guardrail by the ocean side.
1. Keep Your Eyes on The Road
The beautiful scenery makes driving down the Pacific Coast Highway a truly breathtaking experience. As tempting as the view might be, try not to get too distracted by it. Keep your eyes on the road at all times.
This is a long and winding highway with plenty of sharp turns behind corners. If you are not paying attention, you could end up crashing your car. One of the most dangerous aspects of the highway is that it does not have a guardrail in many areas along the ocean. These would offer added protection for drivers who are in danger of sliding off the road.
Also, remember that you are not the only one attracted by the scenery of the place. The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the busiest roads in the US. This means that there are more collision opportunities. Even if you drive safely, others might not. Always be alert, so in case of an accident, you can steer clear of danger.
2. Avoid or Limit Distractions
In California, there are serious distracted driving laws in place. These prohibit any use of a phone or similar devices while behind the wheel, which means that not only texting is forbidden, but using any other app or feature.
If you need to rely on your GPS for your travels, be sure to make the necessary settings while having the vehicle safely parked. While driving, you may only use electronic devices if there is a voice-operated hands-free mode. However, this is not recommended on the PCH since it is dangerous enough already.
3. Do Not Drive While Intoxicated
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and very dangerous. According to a study, there were 10,327 people killed in car crashes involving drunk drivers in California over almost ten years. The Pacific Coast Highway has mesmerizing scenery, but there are also dangers lurking, so you must be alert at all times.
If you were involved in a crash, make sure to contact a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles. They will carefully review your case and offer expert advice on dealing with this frightening and confusing situation.
4. Slow Down
Many drivers are tempted to step on the gas to increase the thrill. You should always respect the speed limit. Exceeding it exposes you, your passengers, and other people on the road to unnecessary risk. A lot of the accidents involve cars traveling over the speed limit. This is more so the case on the western side of the PCH, where the speed limit is 50 mph.
Driving fast robs you of valuable reaction time; you cannot take any evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision. If you see another car speed down the highway, do not engage, just make sure that you stay safe as they pass by.
If you want to absorb some of the scenic beauty around you, slow down a bit. This will also give you more time to react in case an incident occurs in front of you. However, remember that driving too slow can also be dangerous, especially on the highway. This can put other drivers in danger and disrupt the flow of traffic. Plus, it can also make you eligible for a traffic violation.
5. Take Breaks
Do not get overly ambitious. The Pacific Coast Highways is not really a day trip. The windy road that guides you through the dreamy scenery stretches for over 600 miles, and the driving is soliciting. The lower portions of the road are where things slow down. It can take a couple of hours just to get out of the Los Angeles Area. The region around Malibu and Santa Monica can also be rather slow.
Whenever you feel tired while on the highway, consider pulling over, when possible, and rest for a couple of minutes. Take your time and enjoy the experience. Consider staying for at least a night in one or more of the cities that call out to you. Get a good night’s rest and explore the area a bit. The next day, you can head back on the road fresh.
6. Watch Out for Natural Hazards
As beautiful as the scenery is, the road is not without its dangers. Before you embark on your trip, make sure to check the weather conditions. Excessive rainfall can lead to mudslides, endangering the drivers on the road. Bad weather and poor visibility conditions increase the risk of accidents. If you can, postpone the drive until the conditions become better.
7. Avoid Driving During the Night
If you have problems with your eyesight, you might want to avoid driving during the nighttime altogether. There are several portions along the PCH that are not illuminated properly and present poor visibility conditions.
8. Watch Out for the Local Wildlife
The area around the highways is pretty rich in wildlife, and from time to time, some animals wander onto the road. Usually, there are warning signs in the regions where this is more likely to happen, but it never hurts to stay alert and watch out for deer.
If you do spot an animal, slow down or bring your vehicle to a full stop and honk. This will usually scare it away. Wait until it passes you by, do not attempt to drive past before that. If the animal is frightened, it might suddenly dart in any direction; it can be quite unpredictable.
Stay Safe and Enjoy the Drive
Make sure that you practice safe driving while driving down the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. Simple steps like respecting the speed limit, avoiding distractions, and drunk driving goes a long way in keeping you and others on the road safe.